Saturday, February 05, 2011


In my last post I responded to New York Times speculation that Sarah Palin might use her speech last night at the Reagan Ranch to articulate a thoughtful, detailed position on the Egypt crisis. (Of course she did no such thing.)

The obvious response is: Well, that's Sarah Palin. She's not a serious person with serious ideas -- she's just a verbal bomb-thrower. But how different is she from the rest of her party -- on this and every other issue?

Jeff Zeleny of the Times noted yesterday that Republican presidential hopefuls have mostly had very little to say on Egypt. Zeleny attributes this to a GOP preference these days for focusing on domestic issues -- but is that really it? I can't help thinking the Republicans don't want to say much because Republicans just don't have detailed policy proposals -- on this or anything else. They just have catchphrases and soundbites.

The driving force of the GOP right now is the right-wing media. As a result of that, the party doesn't have detailed solutions, even bad ones, for any domestic or global problem. The party just has memes. On Egypt, the memes are Islamic extremists are bad! and Obama rejected Bush's freedom agenda! What solution does that add up to?

On domestic issues, Republicans have a wealth of memes: Stop socialism! Restore freedom and capitalism! Go back to the principles of the Constitution! Cut out-of-control spending! Repeal Obamacare! No more bailouts! No more czars! Rein in public sector unions! Defund ACORN! Defund Planned Parenthood! Climate change isn't man-made! Drill, baby, drill! All of these are presented as if they add up to a real program, but there are no specifics, or the specifics are inadequate. They're just slogans. That's all anyone in the party has to offer.

They want to cut deficits, but ask them to put forward a real budget with real cuts and they punt. Ask them for their health care plan and they punt. And on and on.

It's because they're all gasbags now, and no more. They're all Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter. They don't have ideas. They don't have plans. They have rabble-rousing rhetoric.

I don't know what the hell these people are going to do if they actually win control of the whole federal government in 2012 or 2016. This is all they know how to do.

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